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Brexit Prompts More Brits Than Ever To Turn German

14/06/2017 12:06 BST | Updated 14/06/2017 12:06 BST

What do you do if a slight majority of your compatriots at home decide to throw your future into uncertainty and make you and your family feel less secure living abroad? You'd probably take matters into your own hands by double-voting Brexit and adopting a foreign EU nationality in time.

This pragmatic stance is likely to be the reason behind a run by British expats on German passports in the past year. According to recent figures by the German Federal Statistical Office, naturalisations of British citizens have shot up by a whopping 360 percent compared to 2015 and stood at 2,865 for 2016.

While the number of Brits who became Germans had been on a slight but steady increase over the past decade, last year's Brexit vote has pushed many more British expats to apply for German citizenship than in the years before. Don't call it an exodus, but it is a clear sign.

Infographic: Brexit Prompts Brits to Turn German | Statista You will find more statistics at Statista

There seems to be a real fear that the door might slam shut after Britain actually leaves the European Union in two years' time. What will become of the rights of British citizens still living in the EU then isn't quite clear, as negotiations on the nuts and bolts of Britain leaving haven't been discussed yet.

But especially if the British government under Theresa May follows through with its hardline type of Brexit that might not include accepting equal rights for EU expats in Britain, the EU in turn could decide to curtail the rights of British citizens living in the EU.

The Brexit negotiations between May's new but shaky government and an increasingly impatient EU were set to begin on Monday next week, June 19. Now, they're likely to be pushed back until May's coalition government is standing.

Going German, or alternatively getting a passport of any other EU country, seems a legitimate option for British expats to secure their rights in very uncertain times. Also, Brits can keep their British passports, as an (erstwhile) open and liberal Britain never made a fuss about her nationals holding other passports.

Germany has opened up to EU and other citizens holding dual nationality. However, German law is still rooted in the notion that one nationality is better than multiple, a rational based on jus sanguinis (right of blood) rather than the jus soli (right of birth), which prevails in Britain or France.

Germany has opened up, but still tends to be more conservative in terms of naturalisation - as the plight of Turkish expats in Germany shows.

There have been recent calls by the more conservative wing of the ruling Christian Democrats (CDU) for Germany to reverse its policies adopted in 2014 whereby children of Turkish citizens born in Germany can hold both nationalities. Chancellor Angela Merkel herself has so far resisted those calls.

The calls are chiefly and unfairly aimed against people of Turkish descent, who make up the biggest expat community in Germany and by some are seen as unwilling to integrate into German society.

This simmering resentment was rekindled when a majority of Turkish nationals living in Germany voted in the Turkish constitutional referendum two months back in favour of giving the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sweeping powers. Actually, most foreign nationals naturalised in Germany last year were of Turkish descent, 16,290 to be precise.

Let's hope that the Brexit, which is quite likely to be a messy business as it is, doesn't also mess up the rights of people living freely and peacefully either in the UK or the EU, no matter where they're from.

Infographic: Irish Passport Applications From Britain Are Soaring | Statista You will find more statistics at Statista